Finland’s Minister of Ownership Titti Tuppurainen (SDP) arrived in front of the parliament’s trade committee on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the ongoing negotiations with Germany regarding the financially troubled German gas importer Uniper.
Fortum, which is majority-owned by the Finnish state, acquired the majority of the German energy giant in 2019. Currently, Fortum owns 78 percent of Uniper.
The problems related to Uniper have forced the parliament’s trade committee to continue working during the parliament’s summer break.
Tuppurainen traveled to Berlin on Thursday due to Uniper’s financial difficulties. According to Tuppurainen, the negotiations on saving Uniper are still in progress "at a sensitive stage" after nearly two weeks of daily discussions with German and company officials.
Right before the meeting, an MP from the opposition party Veikko Vallin said the party had prepared 16 questions for the meeting and added that it hoped for transparency. Vallin also said that he would prefer Germany to declare a state of emergency for Uniper, which would allow the company to sell gas at the market price.
Member of Parliament of the Coalition Pia Kaumawho also participated in the meeting, said that he expects Tuppurainen to explain whether the interests of Finnish taxpayers are sufficiently protected in the situation.
Kauma asked Tuppurasen, who said that he tried to understand why German consumers should not be billed for the increase in energy prices. In addition, Kauma inquired about what will happen to the 8 billion euros that Fortum has already financed to Uniper through a financing arrangement.
committee member Kai Mykkänen (NCP) stated that Uniper should primarily be able to raise its prices.
"If the situation were reversed, if a German energy company owned Gasum, which supplies gas to Finland, and we were in the same predicament, I believe that the Finnish government would have to support Finnish consumers. Not that the German owner pays hundreds of millions a month in losses and gas is sold at a constant loss," Mykkänen said.
Matias Mäkynenvice chairman of the Prime Minister’s Social Democratic Party and a member of the Trade Committee said that the Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) had been in close contact with European heads of state, especially the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
According to Mäkynen, Tuppurainen has also been actively involved in the situation and utilized his own contacts.
When the availability of fossil gas from Russia has weakened and prices have risen, Uniper has run into problems. Earlier this week, gas supply from Nord Stream 1 was completely cut off. The losses of the German company are currently tens of millions per day. Unless the company reverses its course, it will go bankrupt within weeks.
A solution to the situation is currently being negotiated between the governments of Finland and Germany.
Finland expects that the rescue of Uniper will not cause a huge bill for taxpayers. On the other hand, Germany cannot let Uniper go bankrupt because the natural gas it supplies is so vital to its heating and industry.
Source: The Nordic Page